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Legislature secretary in hot water for ‘inflating’ R15m tender

2018-09-04 00:25

Mpumalanga legislature secretary Linda Mwale has to answer why he allegedly attempted to force a company that won a R15 million information technology (IT) tender to enter into a joint venture with another company.

An investigation – ordered by Mpumalanga legislature speaker Violet Siwela – will look into why the value of the security and data integrity tender, known as SAP, was topped up in the April 2017 appointment letter of the “bogus” joint venture firm.

A letter seen by City Press indicated that Mwale appointed Sarafusion (Pty) Ltd JV Frugacode on a three-year contract for SAP maintenance and support.

City Press understands that Sarafusion (Pty) Ltd bid alone for the R15 million tender but, to its surprise, the appointment letter indicated:

• That the company was now in a joint venture with Frugacode; and

• That the value of the tender had been topped up by R5.5 million to R20.5 million.

Mwale asked for questions to be texted to him but he did not respond.

Mpumalanga legislature spokesperson Zamagambu Gamede opted not to answer specific questions about the tender but said that Siwela had ordered lawyers to investigate.

“We note your media query and as the legislature we find it disturbing and shocking, as such alleged activities have no space in here. We have since instructed the legal section of the institution to immediately investigate the matter and accordingly advise the legislature,” Gamede said.

An official of Sarafusion (Pty) Ltd, who declined to be named, said the company’s director Bright Musarurwa decided to abandon the contract after Mwale allegedly imposed Frugacode.

“That contract was abandoned,” he said, “because it seemed somebody had got the other company without the consent and knowledge of [the director].” Musarurwa confirmed that his company abandoned the contract but declined to comment.

Mwale is not new to controversy. Two weeks ago the Economic Freedom Fighters laid fraud and corruption charges against him, former legislature speaker Thandi Shongwe and legislature chief finance officer Mbuso Mpika.

The charges are based on adverse Auditor-General (AG) findings against the legislature.

In one of those findings the AG said that a R9.9 million tender for the supply of photocopiers for a three-year period was irregularly awarded to Junox 210 CC on July 1.

The SAP contract worth R19.6 million was awarded to Frugacode on September 6 2017 after the JV deal with Sarafusion fell apart.

Auditors found that Junox 210 did not submit a valid tax clearance certificate.

They also found that another company, Lowveld Office Automation (Pty) Ltd Xerox, would have scored the highest points for price because it charged R1.9 million and should have been evaluated further because it met the minimum threshold of 70 points, but that did not happen.

The tender, auditors found, was awarded to Junox 210 despite that the average price of all disqualified bidders was 46% lower than the R9.9 million the company had quoted.

The AG found Frugacode’s SAP contract was awarded unfairly because Frugacode used an SAP accreditation certificate that was not registered in its own name.

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September 23 2018